Robert Polidori was born in 1951 in Montreal, Canada, to a French Canadian mother and a Corsican father. He moved to the United States when he was ten and arrived in New York in 1969, where he got a job as an assistant to a filmmaker Jonas Mekas at the Anthology Film Archives, producing a number of avant-garde films in the early 1970s. In 1980 he received an M.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and subsequently turned his attention to still photography. He has been living in Parisand New York City since 1987. He is listed as a staff photographer with The New Yorker magazine and makes frequent contributions to other magazines such as Vanity Fair.